Valparaiso Crusaders at Illinois State Redbirds
Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 7:00 PM (Redbird Arena)
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The Valparaiso Crusaders and the Illinois State Redbirds meet in MVC college basketball action from the Redbird Arena on Saturday night.
The Valparaiso Crusaders will look to climb over some teams in the MVC standings, currently sitting at 6-7 in conference play after a 55-38 win over Southern Illinois last time out. Javon Freeman-Liberty leads the Crusaders in scoring and rebounding with 19.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as the lone double-digit scorer for Valpo this season while Daniel Sackey is averaging 6 points and a team-high 3.8 assists per game. As a team, Valparaiso is averaging 71.8 points on 43.3% shooting from the field, 32% from 3-point range and 71.1% from the foul line while allowing opposing teams to average 70.8 points on 46.2% shooting from the field and 35.5% from behind the 3-point line this season. Valparaiso is 3-8 straight up and 4-6-1 against the spread on the road this season.
The Illinois State Redbirds will be looking to build some confidence down the stretch after a 71-63 loss to Northern Iowa last time out sent the Redbirds crashing to 3-10 in conference play this season, only perched above winless Evansville in the MVC standings. Zach Copeland leads Illinois State in scoring with 15 points per game as the lone double-digit scorer for the Redbirds this season while Keith Fisher III and Jaycee Hillsman each have 8.8 points with Fisher III leading Illinois State with 5.7 rebounds per game. Ricky Torres leads Illinois State in assists with 2.9 assists per game this season. As a team, Illinois State is averaging 66.2 points on 42.6% shooting from the field, 35.3% from behind the 3-point line and 68.7% from the foul line while allowing opposing teams to log 70.4 points per game on 44.6% shooting from the field and 33.3% from 3-point range this season. Illinois State is 6-4 straight up and 5-5 against the spread at home this season.
I’ve gone back and forth on this game as I’m trying to figure out why the game is a pick ‘em. Sure, Illinois State’s been good at home, but the Redbirds have been god awful lately for the most part and Valparaiso has been steady, going 5-5 in their last 10 while Illinois State’s dropped 8 of their last 10 games overall. I just think this is a prime road spot for Valpo to get a win, so I’ll side with the Crusaders in this pick ‘em.